The Creepy 5-Year-Old, Marina, and the Whale

Jenna, Reporter

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NOTE: I first wrote this story in 2014, but I finally posted it now, in September 2015. Enjoy!

It was 85 degrees out, and Marina was spending the day trying to sail her paper boats out on the sea. After all, Hooperville, New Carolina, the town where she resided, bordered the Atlantic Ocean and she was lucky enough to live on a beach.

“Marina, darling!” called her mother. “Don’t forget your sunscreen!”

“Oh, right. My sunscreen.” answered Marina. Marina picked up her bottle of sunscreen and sprayed some of the white, foamy liquid all over her body. She shivered a little, and then grabbed her boats to push out onto the sea. “I’ll be back before dinner!” said Marina, waving goodbye to her mother.

Marina skipped out the back door to her house. Her flip-flops smacked loudly against her heels as she walked on the golden, shimmering sands. Then, she kneeled down on the sand and yelled, “OUCH! This sand is really hot!” Marina got back up, brushed the sand off her knees, and went back into the house. “Mom, can you get me a towel? The sand is HOT.”

“Sure, darling.” Marina’s mother got out Marina’s favorite towel. It was orange and had neon-colored hibiscus flowers on it. “Thanks!” said Marina. So, Marina went outside again, but this time, she laid down the towel so she wouldn’t burn herself. Marina kneeled down and gently placed a paper boat in the warm sea. She felt a cool, refreshing breeze and saw it go out to sea as her blonde hair waved in the wind like the ocean. “Bye-bye, little boat! Bon voyage!” said Marina, waving to her boat. “Now, to sail another paper boat!” As Marina turned around to get another boat, she saw a little girl standing by the sea. The little girl seemed to be about five years old, with tanned skin, short brown hair, and a red dress. She was wearing no shoes, but she had some sort of a telescope that looked into the water. Who was this stranger, and why was she in Marina’s backyard? Marina was freaked out by this. Marina went to confront the girl. Quivering with fear, Marina said, “Um…hi…? I’m…Marina…and….this is my…backyard.”

“My name’s Elsie.” said the five-year-old.

“But, why are you in MY backyard?” asked Marina.

“I’m researching whales.” replied Elsie. “Want to see one?”

“Oh, I love whales!” said Marina. “I never knew there were some in my backyard!”

“Then, come look through my super sea-scope and see one.” said Elsie. Her voice sounded monotonous and somewhat creepy. Marina wasn’t so sure about this. What if Elsie’s super sea-scope was actually a trick that would do Marina harm? Nah, Elsie seemed pretty friendly.

“Elsie, are you sure this isn’t a trick?” asked Marina.

“I’m sure! Come see for yourself!” Elsie handed Marina the super sea-scope. Marina peered through the tiny opening. But, the whale she saw didn’t seem to be a whale at all! The “whale” was iridescently-colored and looked squishy. It had mobile legs like a frog and a face like a dog. The “whale” floated on the sea gracefully, like a jellyfish, and it seemed to be no bigger than the average jellyfish. “I…I’m not really sure that that…thing is a whale.” stated Marina, giving Elsie back the sea-scope.

“It is a whale…as far as I’m concerned!” said Elsie, with a creepy smile. Suddenly, Elsie seemed to morph into flowing water, like that out of a fountain. Elsie appeared to combine with the ocean as she turned into ocean water. What kind of creepy dream was Marina having? Please tell me I fell asleep while watching my favorite show, Sea Paradise, again, thought Marina, and that this is just one of those crazy dreams I get from falling asleep during TV-watching. Marina closed her eyes and pinched herself on the cheek, hoping to open her eyes and see that she was just lying around on the couch in the comfort of her own home. But, when she opened her eyes, she still saw her backyard. If this wasn’t a dream, then what was it? Was Marina going crazy?

Marina was really scared. She couldn’t find Elsie, because she couldn’t go in the water due to the fact that she was wearing normal clothes. So, Marina went back into her house and changed into a bathing suit.

“Mom!” called Marina. “I’m back in the house!”

No response.

“MOM!!”

Nothing.

“MOM!?!?!” Marina cried at the top of her lungs. Her mom did not answer! Marina checked every room of the house to look for her mother. But, she could not find her mom anywhere! First, a creepy girl named Elsie that could turn into water, and now, a missing mother?! This was getting real weird. Marina had to solve this mystery.

Marina went back outside. What if her mom was in the ocean with Elsie? Marina held her nose and jumped into the ocean. The water was warm and got deeper as Marina swam. Suddenly, the water was above her head! Marina stopped holding her nose…but much to her surprise, she realized she could breathe under the water! “This is so cool!” Marina exclaimed enthusiastically. Suddenly, she heard a familiar-sounding voice coming from behind. “Now where is that whale?” asked the voice. Marina turned around, and Elsie looked at her in the eyes. Elsie seemed to be breathing underwater, as well. She was wearing a red bathing suit that looked oddly like her red dress.

“Marina!” said Elsie, smiling creepily. It was odd, as Elsie seemed to be excited yet speak in that same creepy tone of voice. “You’re back to help me search for that whale!”

“Right…the whale.” responded Marina. She didn’t really want to search for whales. What she really wanted to do was find out why all the crazy things were happening to her! “So…whales eat krill, right? Maybe I could just…go and get some…krill to attract that whale?”

“No.” responded Elsie. “Guess what type of cactus I am!” Elsie started to walk sideways and folded her hands to resemble claws.

“You look more like a crab then a cactus.”

“That’s because I’m a crab cactus!” said Elsie. “Now, what type of cactus am I?” Elsie flapped her arms like the wings of an eagle.

“Uh…flying cactus?”

“You catch on quickly!” answered Elsie.

“But why are you pretending to be a CACTUS?!” asked Marina.

Elsie replied, “The whale eats cacti.”

“But cacti do not grow under the sea.” answered Marina.

“Sea cacti do.” said Elsie. “Want to go help me find one?”

“What do sea cacti even look like?” asked Marina. She picked up a small, green plant with what resembled an undersea flower on it. “Is this a sea cactus?”

“Bingo!” said Elsie. “That whale should come if I use this!” Elsie reached behind her back and, seemingly magically, pulled out what looked exactly like the whale that Marina had seen earlier.

“Isn’t that the whale?” inquired Marina curiously.

“It’s a whale decoy.” added Elsie. “It’s 100% guaranteed to bring the whale to me so I can research it.”

“Why are you so interested in researching that whale?” asked Marina. Maybe if she knew why Elsie was so fascinated by “whales,” she could crack the mystery and get back to her everyday life!

“I’m curious…” responded Elsie in a creepy way.

Marina giggled nervously. “By the way, when I was going into the house to get a bathing suit…did you see any lady with blonde hair like mine on the surface? Wearing a flowered dress?”

“Why do you want to know?” asked Elsie.

“Because that’s my mother.”

“Oh, she went out to run some errands. She thinks you’re mature enough to be left alone for a while. I heard her say that to someone on the phone.” responded Elsie.

Well, that’s a relief, thought Marina. Now that she knew what happened to her mother…she now only had to figure out what was going on with that “whale” and why she was breathing underwater! So far, Marina knew that Elsie was researching the whale. But, why? Suddenly, Marina saw what looked like another swimmer, enveloped in bubbles. The swimmer had what appeared to be long, purple hair in pigtails.

“Did you see that?” Marina asked. “I saw a lady! Swimming! She had purple hair! Maybe she knows something about that whale?”

“Purple hair?” asked Elsie.

“Yeah! I’ll go see what’s up with her.” said Marina.

“Okay…?” responded Elsie. Marina swam up to the lady. But, she noticed that the lady was not an ordinary person. The lady had what appeared to be a fish’s tail, with shimmering scales of blue, green, and purple. It was a real mermaid! The mermaid seemed rather melancholy, like something was wrong. Marina could hear the mermaid crying.

“What’s wrong, mermaid?” asked Marina.

“I lost my pet jellyfroppy.” said the mermaid.

“What’s a…jelly…flop…thing?”

“It’s a hybrid between a jellyfish, frog, and puppy. It’s shiny and almost glistens with rainbow colors.” A jellyfish-frog-puppy hybrid? That sounded EXACTLY like that “whale!” Marina just knew that the “whale” that Elsie was researching was the mermaid’s pet. She had to tell Elsie! However, why was Elsie researching that jellyfroppy and calling it a whale?

“By any chance, was your pet named ‘Whale?’” questioned Marina.

“It was.” said the mermaid.

“I saw it!” said Marina. “My…um…friend Elsie knows where your pet is.”

“Wait a minute.” responded the mermaid. “Did you say Elsie?”

“I’ll go get her.” said Marina.

“I know that girl!” cried the mermaid. But, before she could say anything else, Marina had swam off to tell Elsie the news.

“Elsie!” said Marina. “I met this mermaid with purple hair! She said she lost her pet jellyfroppy and that its name was Whale! That ‘whale’ you were researching was the mermaid’s pet!”

Elsie replied, “I know. That mermaid you met was my best friend! Her name’s Bubbly.”

“So…Bubbly was crying because she lost her pet.” said Marina. “Can I return Whale to his owner? Oh, and why were you researching it?”

“I was researching Whale because when Bubbly got her pet and called it a whale, it didn’t look like any whale I had ever seen before.” explained Elsie, still as monotonously and as creepily as ever. “So, thanks to you, I now know that it’s just a jellyfroppy named Whale.”

“But can I give Bubbly back her pet?” asked Marina.

“That would make her very happy.” said Elsie. The two girls swam up to the sad Bubbly, gently cradling Whale in their arms. When they reached Bubbly, she gently asked, “You have Whale with you, right?”

“Yes, we do.” said Elsie. The girls handed Bubbly her strange pet, and could see the pleasantly excited expression on Bubbly’s face.

“You guys are the best!” said Bubbly. “If it weren’t for your new friend, Elsie, I would’ve never found Whale, and, of course-”

“You would’ve been miserable,” interrupted Marina. “Elsie, there’s one last mystery I have to solve. Any idea on why I’m breathing underwater? I never knew I could breathe underwater before. Am I some sort of magical creature disguised as a normal girl?”

Elsie swam behind Marina and inspected her neck. She gasped upon seeing a small birthmark that was a light shade of reddish tan. The birthmark was shaped like a mermaid. “I guess you’re a Kajala too!”

“Ka-what now?” asked Marina.

“Oh, just a member of the Kajala tribe. We’re special people who are able to breathe underwater…and morph into water as well. That’s why I seemed to morph into a stream of water when diving into the water.” said Elsie.

“Does this mean anything, Elsie?”

Kajala means ‘of the sea.’ You see, when I was born, I had no idea that I was a Kajala, because both my parents were not Kajalas. Being a Kajala is a mutant gene. Then, a few years ago, I was just minding my own business and playing fashion show, when upon looking in the mirror, I noticed that I had the mermaid-shaped birthmark, like you,” explained Elsie. “So, when I realized I was a Kajala, I ran away from my home, free as a bird, and made myself a new home under the sea. Both my mother and father were drug addicts, so they didn’t care at all about me. They were so busy…well…hallucinating and going totally crazy. So, I haven’t seen dry land in a long time.”

“But why did you come out of the water to research Whale?” asked Marina.

“I was hoping I could get a better view of Whale if I was out of the water.” replied Elsie.

This all made sense to Marina now. Marina’s mom was just running errands, the “whale” was just a jellyfroppy named Whale, and Elsie and Marina were both members of some water-dwelling tribe. Marina was starting to like this Elsie girl…even her creepy, droning voice. Maybe Elsie had forgotten who her family was and she would like to live with Marina now! Marina asked, “Elsie, do you still know who your family is?”

“No…the sea creatures here are like family to me now.” said Elsie.

“When I was around your age,” told Marina, “my father was diagnosed with cancer. He had to go through serious treatments in order to recover. When he recovered, he and my mom were unable to have another child, so my mom has been looking into adopting a sibling for me for years. Maybe when she meets you, you could be like my step-sister!” Elsie looked at Marina, and then said, “That could work.”

“I’ll have to ask my mom.” said Marina. The two girls and Bubbly said good-bye to each other. After, Marina and Elsie swam up to the surface. The friends walked out of the water and Marina grabbed her towel to dry off. Elsie, on the other hand, laid down on the ground and started rolling around. “Huh? What are you doing, Elsie?” asked Marina.

“This is how Kajalas dry off.” said Elsie. “The sand isn’t burning me.”

“Um…no thanks.” said Marina, who just continued to dry off with her towel. “Wanna see my house?”

“Okay.” Elsie and Marina walked into Marina’s house. Marina’s mom was back from her errands and waiting for Marina, so upon seeing Elsie, she asked, “Now who is this girl? I didn’t know you were inviting a friend over.”

“That’s Elsie. She doesn’t have a home. She lived in the ocean hoping for a family, because she was separated from them and doesn’t know who they were. I thought she would make a good member of our family, because you always wanted another child, right? Ever since…the incident.”

“I remember…the incident, as you call it.” replied Marina’s mom. “So, this girl has no family?”

“I do not know who my real family is.” said Elsie. “But I do remember that my mother and father did drugs. I ran away from home and made a life in the ocean upon realizing I was a member of a secret tribe called the Kajala tribe. Your lovely daughter Marina is one, too. Members of the Kajalas are able to breathe underwater. My crazy parents didn’t seem to care at all about the fact that I was a Kajala running away from home and living in the sea. All they seemed to care about was why our neighbor Sherry liked cats.”

Marina’s mom got all choked up, and from what Marina could tell, it seemed like her mother felt bad for poor Elsie.

“Marina, darling,” said Marina’s mother, “and you too, Elsie, that is one tragic story. I will take care of you like you’re my own child, Elsie. So will my husband…but right now he’s at a hockey game. I’ll call him on the phone and tell him the exciting news soon. Now, go upstairs and change into dry clothes. Darling, show Elsie where your old clothes are. I’m sure they’ll fit her.”

Marina answered, “Sure, Mom.”

“Oh, and Elsie can sleep in that bed in the guest room.”

The two new step-sisters walked upstairs and went to Marina’s room. Marina pulled out a big bag full of clothing. “These are your new clothes, Elsie.” said Marina. But, Elsie’s bathing suit actually morphed back into the red dress that she was wearing. “Whoa, your bathing suit is like magic!” Marina put on a blue dress.

“You know, Elsie,” said Marina. “I thought this whole day was just a big, crazy dream I had while I fell asleep to the TV. My dreams are especially crazy when I fall asleep to that show, Sea Paradise.”

“Wait,” said Elsie, surprised, “you like Sea Paradise?”

“It’s my favorite show.” responded Marina.

Sea Paradise was the last TV show I saw before I ran away!”

“Wanna go watch some…Sea Paradise?”

“Okay, sure.”

Marina and Elsie went downstairs and turned on the TV. Then, Marina clicked the On Demand button on the remote and selected an episode of Sea Paradise for her to watch with Elsie. “Let’s hope I don’t fall asleep!” said Marina. Elsie giggled. Soon, the room was full of Elsie and Marina’s laughter. The two girls watched Sea Paradise and Elsie had a quiet, normal life with Marina ever since then.

 

THE END

 

 

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The Creepy 5-Year-Old, Marina, and the Whale